Posted on May 3, 2013
On this final day of our 5 part series, I’d like to share some thoughts on being a hostess and also address some common objections someone might have to being hospitable.
As the hostess, it is not only good for us to help our guests feel comfortable and welcome, but it’s also good to make sure their needs are met to the best of our ability.
1. Have the Meal Ready
Unless you have planned for your guests to come before meal time, it is good to try to have the meal ready when they arrive. Of course, there may be a couple of last minute things to finish up, but you shouldn’t just be putting your roast on to cook for 2 hours when they walk in the door. It’s good to be ready to serve the meal soon after your guests arrive.
2. Be Aware of Guests Needs
Do they need some more water or coffee? Do they seem hot or cold? Maybe they could use another napkin, or offer them seconds on the food.
As a hostess it is a good practice to be attentive and aware of what is going on with your guests. Always be thinking about your guests needs, not to the point of being stressed out, but in a thoughtful, caring way.
3. Don’t Get Easily Offended
Having people over opens up opportunity to be easily offended. Once in a while someone might make it obvious they don’t like the food you fixed, seem to be bored stiff, or scared of your family pet. Sometimes people just say what’s on their mind, or they are nervous about what to say. More than likely, they really aren’t trying to offend you.
One time we when we had a family over, the husband walked in the door, immediately looked at the walls and proceeded to ask if I don’t like to put things on my walls because, “I sure don’t have much up there”. Those are opportunities for us to show grace and not take comments too personally; and they are times in showing hospitality that we can look back on and laugh.
4. Think About Allergies
It’s nice to ask ahead of time if your guests have any food allergies. Lots of people have allergies to nuts or fish, and it is easy to plan a meal without either of those ingredients. I have found that when someone has an allergy that is harder to plan around, like gluten, they usually offer to bring a separate meal or in some way tell you not to worry about it. Also, if your guests are allergic to your pets, it would be thoughtful to put them up in another area of the house (your pet, not your guests :)).
Common Objections To Hospitality
1. My House Will Get Messed Up
Some of you may be leery about having company over in fear of things getting broken, stained or messed up. In our experience we have had very little of that happen. Even if it does, the blessing and joy of having people in your home far out weighs the possibility of something getting broken.
2. My House Is Too Small
We had some friends of ours invite us all over for dinner (I think there were 8 of us at the time). They lived in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment. Some of the kids sat on the floor to eat and others ate on t.v. trays at the couch. Everything worked out great and we had a wonderful time of fellowship. It was so neat to see their willingness to have a lot of people over with such a limited space.
Another family who lived in a small apartment too, decided instead of hosting us in their apartment they would have us over for a picnic in the park area of their apartment complex. The kids had fun playing at the park and having a picnic, Jim and I enjoyed a beautiful day outside with friends. Don’t be afraid to have people over because of the size of your house, be creative with the space you have.
Life is busy. There are many things clamoring for our attention, but we can usually find time for the things we truly want to do. If your schedule really is packed and for some reason you can’t cut anything out to make time for hospitality, again, be creative. If your evenings are filled, have someone over for a Saturday brunch.
There are lots of ways of showing hospitality. You don’t have to serve a meal in order to be hospitable. In this series I wanted to focus on the practical side of hospitality through having people over for a meal and fellowship in your home.
Lastly, we have considered many different aspects of showing hospitality, and what I have shared in this series is by no means exhaustive. At the same time, I want to encourage you to not be overwhelmed with the details. If you simply give some basic thought and attention, I think you will find your times of having people in your home to be very enjoyable and a blessing to you, your family and your guests.
Do you have any tips for being a gracious, thoughtful hostess? Are there any unique ways or times you have had company over? I’d love to hear in the comment section.